† T H E††† S T R E A M† |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||†††
Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger
IN THIS ISSUE:
*† Quote of the Month
*† FEATURE ARTICLE: "Towards the Art and Science of
†† Asking Questions" - by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
*† Comments & Feedback
*† Links - archives, back issues, homepage
*† Reader Questionnaire
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without
any other reason but because they are not already common."
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -≠ John Locke
WELCOME to all new members who have joined us this month. We hope
to hear from you and to give you much food for thought. Back issues
are available upon request. Just add the month to the subject line:
TESTIMONIALS COMPENDIUM - Project Renaissance is collecting input
from successful users of its methods. Have you used Image-Streaming,
Borrowed Genius, Toolbuilder, Windtunnel or any of the many other
powerful problem-solving and creative solution-finding methods
of Win Wenger and Project Renaissance? Have you found them to be
personally helpful and effective for you? Do you think they are of
value to people in their everyday life? Would you take a few minutes
and write a short account of how they have helped you, and email it
to Project Renaissance's Executive Director, Tijl Koenderink, at
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Testimonials . Your name will not be
published without your authorization.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRAIN TO BECOME A TRAINER?†
Project Renaissance is seeking dedicated individuals who like to
help others help themselves, and who would like to learn the
techniques of Project Renaissance to this end. We are planning
trainer workshops through various channels.
If you'd like to find out more about the possibility of becoming a
trainer, whether full-time or part-time, please email your interest
to Project Renaissance's Executive Director, Tijl Koenderink, at
NOVEMBER IN DECEMBER?† We apologize for the lateness of this issue.
The editor and all other staff of Project Renaissance were deeply
engrossed in the Annual Double Festival conference on creative
problem solving and accelerated learning and training sessions of
Project Renaissance techniques.
>From November 13-20, not a creature was stirring in the editorial
offices, not even the mouse.
We hope to have some pictures up on the website soon. The theme of
the conference was "Problem-Solving in the Global Village," and a
slate of wonderful speakers addressed this topic from many different
viewpoints. Intensive training sessions took participants through
a gamut of interactive processes, with excellent results. If you've
never attended one of Project Renaissance's Double Festivals, you
owe it to yourself to do so at the next opportunity:† November 2004.
Also watch for announcements of a special workshop in May 2004.
SUBSCRIBER OR MEMBER? If you currently only subscribe to
you can upgrade your participation in Project Renaissance to full
membership, free. Membership in Project Renaissance entitles members
to additional benefits. If you're not yet a member, please register
now, here:† http://www.winwenger.com/regmem.htm - or from link on
the homepage, http://www.winwenger.com .
DUPLICATE MAILING? If you received two (or more?) copies of this
How you can participate...
* You can post messages on Project Renaissance's discussion board
about any Project Renaissance topic and join any ongoing
discussions. No log-in required. Please visit the homepage at
http://www.winwenger.com and click the Discussion Board link.
To post a message right now, click here:
* The long-established, popular Image-Streaming egroup is here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/imagestream - requires Yahoo sign-in.
* Submit articles, comments or questions for possible inclusion in
Free monthly meetings of High Thinktank...Open to the public.
Meetings begin at 7:30pm sharp. New topics each time.
Please check the Project Renaissance website calendar
for details and directions, at
The Creativity Salon
An ongoing monthly program of the New York City-based
Creativity Institute, Andre and Judy de Zanger, directors
December 17, 2003
Open to the public with no fee charge.
6th floor meeting rooms
Room opens at 6:30 p.m., session starts at 7 p.m.
(We have to get out right at 8:30 p.m.)
This month's program:†
THE MODERN "SOCRATIC METHOD"
A high-speed way to get to new and powerful insights
Led by Dr. Win Wenger
Linda Dove, phone 212-340-0872
†††††††††† TOWARDS THE ART AND SCIENCE OF ASKING QUESTIONS
††††††††††††††††††††††† by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
I have long believed, given our almost limitless capacity for
effectively answering questions, that if we could further develop
the art of asking questions, we would be in for some huge benefits
Also, I have long believed that to make it a point each day to ask
ourselves several questions, the discipline of asking questions
each day would give us huge gains.† It is the key element in the
Socratic method and its applications.
This is why I proposed, during an October workshop in
again during the November Double Festival, that participants keep
a journal in which they ask themselves three questions a day and
answer two of them, either by use of our creative problem-solving
methods such as Image-Streaming, or directly.
I also propose organizing an unofficial task force and focus of
inquiry, whose purpose is to develop the art and discipline and
procedures for generating useful questions. Individuals interested
in participating in this project, please email to the author at
Sliced one way:† What are the best questions one can ask about the
day, his job, his profession, his life, the needs of those around
him, his reason for being, his community, his nation, the world,
and the other great issues?
Sliced another way:† What are the circumstances - and what are the
feelings - one should learn to recognize and use as a cue to ask
questions? And what should those questions be like, in various of
those circumstances?† What questions are appropriate not just for
adults but also for children to ask and effectively answer, at
various ages, in what situations?
Sliced yet another way:† What are appropriate daily questions at
different educational and functioning intellectual levels?† For
example, what are matters about which one of high educational or
scientific background and, say, 180 IQ, would find useful and
appropriate to ask?† What kind of day-to-day, situation-to-
situation questions could enable a mildly retarded person, by
making a practice of asking and answering them, to live independ-
ently and constructively (while doing that and other practices to
improve his intellectual functioning)?† Or someone stuck in a
ghetto?† What are good questions for people between jobs, or facing
matters of conscience, or a dysfunctional family (from either end)
or a strained marriage, or in a loss situation, or challenged by a
large opportunity, or various other situations?† Can a formula of
best and most useful questions be developed for each of these
Sliced still yet another way:† Which might be the most useful
formats for journals of questions-and-answers, generally and for
people in various of the above circumstances? (We'd need to
keep this pretty simple to keep it workable: I know of at least
one journaling program that complexified the process into something
few are willing to take up.)
One consideration:† Context-specific formulas of specific questions
can make it easy for a wider number and range of people to apply
such a process successfully. Too much rigidity, however, can lead
to absurdities and counter-productive effects. How can this be
rendered concrete-supportive, flexibly open-ended and dynamic, and
simple, all at the same time?
Some things make this task easier:
† (1) As in High Thinktank, asking, "What IS the best question to
ask in this context, and its best answer?"†
† (2) All the various question-answering, problem-solving tools,
once the question is identified.
There are some parallels here with uses of Image-Streaming, which
guarantees that no one ever, ever again has to suffer writer's
block or artist's block of any kind. Just Image-Stream in that
context, start describing, and the stuck point is gone as the
narrative or essay picks right back up.
An end to being stuck...if we can develop such a questions art and
science effectively, we can guarantee that no one need ever be
stuck in his situation or life, ever.† Reflexively notice when you
encounter a difficulty, turn it into the appropriate question,
answer it, and move forward.
- Win Wenger
About the Author:
Win Wenger is the founder of Project Renaissance, pioneer in the
creativity and problem-solving fields and author of 48 books. Much
of his theoretical and applied work can be found on the official
website of Project Renaissance, http://www.winwenger.com .
To send feedback privately to the author, email Win Wenger at
To send your comments about this article to
To post your feedback or promote a discussion of this topic:
COMMENTS & FEEDBACK
A question that I have found powerful at all times is: "What is
- Rory O'Connor, Creativity Coach
I wanted to let you know that Iíve been using your warm-up exercise
[from October 15, 2003 meeting], with fascinating results. On my
way to work [the next] morning, I decided to look at the road
through the eyes of an imagined builder and surveyor who had been
involved in building the original path back in the 1700s. I thought
it would be interesting to compare the way that it looks now (a
typical overcrowded suburban commuter road) with what may have been
there in its earliest days.
I immediately picked up some interesting ideas about the growth of
the road, and about what may have been there over two centuries
ago.† (I need to do some research to check how valid my inferences
were.) On the way home at the end of the day, and without planning
to do so, I observed more about the topography of the road in one
evening than in over a decade driving the route before then. (I
never realized how hilly that terrain is.)
Iím continuing to work with this process. This morning, I decided
to look at the streets near my work through the eyes of a physicist
(a field in which I have no involvement.)† I found myself taking
note of things I never paid attention to before, such as gradient
and friction on the road, light spectrum and how it played against
the buildings on a cloudy morning. Needless to say, I plan to
continue working on this skill. Thank you so much for sharing this
["Borrowed Perception"] technique with us the other night.
- M.H. ( mailto:email@example.com?subject=M.H. )
[This poignant exchange is from firstname.lastname@example.org :]
Katie Stemper ( mailto:Kikistem@msn.com ) wrote:
Is there anyone on this board who has studied the effects of Image-
Streaming by people with A.D.D. [attention deficit disorder]? The
wiring is different for the brain and I was wondering if it cut
down the daydreaming prevalent in those who have it, or if it has
just enriched the experience. Thanks!
Win Wenger ( mailto:email@example.com ) replied:
That might be most of the problem in a nutshell. "Daydreaming" was
an essential part of how we thought and came to understand things
when we were children. Now children with unstructured time sit in
front of the TV, and we're treating daydreaming as a disease.
Perhaps there is an irreducible amount of daydreaming we need to
do, just as there is of various types of physical exercise.† If
useful, Image-Streaming can make up some of the lost daydreaming
time; then its practice should ease the symptoms of the syndrome.
- Win Wenger
Katie Stemper ( mailto:Kikistem@msn.com ) continued:
Thanks for all the feedback and advice. I have to tell you that I am
already an obsessive scribbler and have been for years. I sleep with
a notebook by my bed and a tape recorder for those dreams or ideas
that tap me on the forehead in the wee hours. I get the little
spiral notebooks to stuff in my pocket when I am at work. The
attachment to these little scripts has made me seem eccentric to
family and friends. As a writer, I am never without some way to
capture that next scene or story idea.
The Image-Streaming is valuable when I am scripting the outline for
a novel. And as for my A.D.D., all these methods help to give order
to the whirling in my mind.
The one thing I find about this malady is that there is a misconcep-
tion that ADDers cannot concentrate. It can be the opposite in many
situations. I can overfocus or feel as though I am in a trance when
preoccupied with an idea. I think the real goal is to be conscious
of when I need to turn this off or on at will. People can have entire
conversations with me and if I am thinking about a story idea, for
instance, I will remember nothing of the encounter.
"Did you see the whites of my eyes?"
"Yes. You were looking right at me."
"Ah, but was there a glossy sheen or glaze? Did I really give you
As to the education system and the many children who are punished
for living in the Land of Alpha Waves, it would be great to make
new inroads with Image-Streaming and other techniques, but I think
schools are still reptilian in their approach to learning. Children
are taught to embrace labels, define territories and learn to eat or
be eaten within social groups. They are groomed to ask the right
question if they question at all. Each day is a lesson in construct-
ing the mask they must wear to be functioning adults in our culture.
When I tried to homeschool my own children, I had such high hopes
that I could teach them to love learning, to be curious and excited
about the possibilities. My husband was reluctant to let me teach
them at all and was pleased only when we handed him a stack of
boring worksheets "just like real school" at the end of the day.
Daydreaming and fantasy in the ADDer is the great escape from the
madness of conformity. To the world, it is an undisciplined mind
that can log off when bored. It is not seen as a method for
Thanks again for your response . . .
- Katie Stemper ( mailto:Kikistem@msn.com?subject=ADD )
Your story wants to make me cry. "A.D.D." kids proved themselves over
and over to be exceptional in my classes. Even though these kids were
often royal pains in my butt, I loved them dearly. I scream when I
hear the word "disorder". It is the schools that cannot accommodate
exceptional people like you. The schools are the ones that need to be
ordered. A.D.D. is a myth.† You have a unique gift and make-up that
simply doesn't allow you to sit comfortably with the status quo. I am
happy that you have not succumbed to the "reptilian" tyranny and
judgment of left-brain-dominated academicians. You are absolutely
right. Conformity is madness. Isn't it funny how you can't tell an
"A.D.D." kid from anyone else when you get them out of the classroom
and into nature?† Ritalin - the teacher's little helper.
The Ritalin plague is a war against the mind.
*† Back issues of THE STREAM by email upon request from
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†††††††††††††††††††††††† PROJECT RENAISSANCE
1. What are your favorite kinds of questions to answer:
††††††† Trivia games ________
††††††† Quiz shows ______
††††††† Multiple-choice IQ tests ______
††††† Probing questions from inquisitive 5-year-olds _____
††††††† Other ____ (please describe)
2. When someone asks,"Can I ask you a question", do you:
††††††† Respond cheerfully, "Sure." _____
††††††† Cringe in anticipation of invasion† _______
††††††† Chuckle at the paradox ______
††††††† Other ____ (please specify)
3. Is it easier for you to find solutions to others' questions than
†† for your own problems:
††††††† Always† _____†††
††††††† Sometimes _____†††
††††††† Never _____
††††††† Other _____ (please explain)
To return this questionnaire, simply reply to this email, deleting
all but the questionnaire portion. Mark your answers with an X
except where long answer is indicated.